1. Protests cloud Brazil acting president’s political honeymoon

Protests cloud Brazil acting president’s political honeymoon

Street protests and controversy over the absence of female ministers clouded Brazilian acting President Michel Temer's political honeymoon as he began his first full week in power.

By: | Brasilia | Published: May 17, 2016 1:46 PM
Michel Temer, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil News Street protests and controversy over the absence of female ministers clouded Brazilian acting President Michel Temer’s political honeymoon as he began his first full week in power. (Reuters)

Street protests and controversy over the absence of female ministers clouded Brazilian acting President Michel Temer’s political honeymoon as he began his first full week in power.

Temer took over from president Dilma Rousseff last week after the Senate voted to open an impeachment trial on charges that she illegally manipulated the budget.

The 75-year-old center-right leader has vowed to reverse Rousseff’s leftist course in an attempt to haul Brazil back from its deepest recession in decades.

Though a cabinet — which will be reduced from a bloated 32 ministries to 23 — has already been named, there was a delay to the nomination in the key post of central bank head.

New Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, whose early pronouncements are being carefully watched by the markets, had been due to announce the nominee yesterday but put it off for a day, Brazilian newspapers reported.

In a television interview late Sunday, Temer vowed to unite Brazil after months of increasingly divisive debate over the impeachment of Rousseff, who accuses Temer of leading a coup.

But just days into the job, Temer finds himself under steady attack from the left.

Jeering and pot banging could be heard in parts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo during his television interview, a form of protest that used to dog Rousseff to the point where she began avoiding broadcast appearances.

Street protests also took place Sunday in several cities, including the capital Brasilia and the financial center Sao Paulo.

Another was held yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, which hosts the Olympics in less than three months.

Temer himself phoned Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, to reassure him of Brazil’s commitment to making the Games a success.

Activists occupied offices of the education and culture ministries, which are being merged under Temer’s plan.

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